There's been growing skepticism that Israel and the Palestinians could even agree on a framework for resuming Middle East peace negotiations. But today, after a lapse of seven years, President Bush said the time is right. With Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas at his side today in Annapolis, he read a joint statement, promising to address all the "core issues" and setting a deadline for a "two-state solution" by the end of next year. With negotiations scheduled to resume next month, today's agreement calls for implementation of the Roadmap established in 2003. At today's conference, attended by no less than 49 countries and international organizations--including Saudi Arabia, Syria and other members of the Arab League, President Bush set forth a formula that included obligations for Israelis, Palestinians and their Arab neighbors. What about Hamas, Benjamin Netanyahu and Iran? Do weak leaders reflect what's really happening on the ground? Can the US play a decisive role, presuming it wants to?
Howard LaFranchi, Diplomatic Correspondent, Christian Science Monitor
Dennis Ross, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (@washinstitute)
Mustafa Barghouthi, Member, Palestinian Legislature
Gerald Steinberg, Bar Ilan University (@GeraldNGOM)
Rami Khouri, syndicated columnist, senior fellow at the Belfer Center and professor of public policy at the American University of Beirut (@RamiKhouri)